Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Combat versus team sports: effects of gender in peer motivational climate, fun and violence of physical education students

Background and aim. The inclusion of martial arts and combat sports (MA&CS) in formal physical education (PE) has been suggested by many authors, although there is no strong evidence as yet of the benefits of its practice for students. This study aimed to describe the effects of the development of two MA&CS teaching units (judo and capoeira) on the motivational climate, enjoyment and attitudes toward violence of PE students, and to compare these effects with those experienced by students receiving team sports teaching units (football and basketball).
Methodology. A quasi-experimental, pre-post (two groups), longitudinal study design was followed, involving 221 students aged between 13 and 16. The experimental group (n = 105) developed MA&CS teaching units, while the control group (n = 116) developed team sport, teaching units. A peer motivational climate questionnaire, the amusement/boredom in physical education scale and the attitudes toward violence scale psychological assessment tools were used. Statistical analyses included means and standard deviations, two-way equivalent multifactorial ANOVA and effect sizes Results: MA&CS teaching units significantly improved the classroom motivational climate involving tasks/learning, and students’ attitudes toward unjustified violence. The post-test intergroup comparison showed that the experimental group rejected unjustified violence to a higher degree than the control group (p = .014, d = .81). Improvements in attitudes to unjustified violence were for both males (p = .017, d = .82), and females (p = .021, d = .78) in the experimental group, while the climate involving tasks/learning only improved in males (p = .037, d = .77).
Conclusion. MA&CS teaching units improved students’ attitudes toward violence and generated a higher peer motivational climate than, and similar fun as team sports teaching units.